Empathetic communication for conflict resolution among children


Jeff L. Cochran


This article presents an empathy-focused approach to conflict resolution among children that is applicable in schools and other settings. The authors illustrate the approach with a case example and with role definitions for speakers, listeners, and facilitators. The authors assert that complete communication (having children in conflict listen to one another and then empathically respond to one another without judgment or bias) is a highly effective and powerful means to conflict resolution. Important interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits include: increased self-efficacy and self-reliance, increased respect for self and others, increased empathy and emotional maturity, and increased skills in developing meaningful friendships. Further, this model may help prevent school violence resulting from children feeling ostracized and unheard. Additional applications are also discussed.